Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Vengeance of the Moon Knight #10 Review

Moon Knight's a fun character, because you never know what you're going to get from him. The psycho killer powered by an Egyptian God? The heroic psycho who is cooperative? Or the man with three identities preying on New York's stranger occurrences/ trying to steal an Egpytian God's ghost back from some doctor woman? 

In this instance we have the latter, as Moon Knight joins with the Secret Avengers. Then he joins with the regular Avengers (sort of) before just doing his own thing and being nominated for tons and tons of awards. Thank you, Warren Ellis/ Declan Shavley. 

But that's not the point, as today, we're here to review "Vengeance of the Moon Knight #10" to see just how our friendly neighborhood former mercenary deals with a new faction of the Avengers. I should note that Nova (Richard Rider) does not make an appearance in this book despite being a part of the team at the time. 

Also, we're doing something a little different with the color analysis this week. Normally I do the regular issue's cover, but, I own the second printing variant cover. Personally, I find this to be the better cover, so, let's take a look! 

Iron Patriot is so cool he flies down by flying sideways

I really like this cover, as it shows us all of our heroes to some capacity while not at all taking away from the fact that this is Moon Knight's book, and the Secret Avengers are guesting in it. He is our main character, and we are drawn straight to him. Cover artist Francesco Mattina does a great job of putting our focus on Moon Knight while also balancing all of the colors well, reflecting what the main color scheme of the book (blue) will be. I'll get into the book's art as we move along. 

The first page feels like something out of a newspaper article, as we get a huge wall of text supplied only by one image of Moon Knight drinking an energy drink next to shield-less Steve Rogers. It's quite an image. Put it right there on the fridge for the kids to see. 

If you bother to read all of it, though, you'll find that this is a great way to start off the book. This is what any comic book should do. We get an explanation for how Moon Knight got his powers, and what's happened recently. I won't explain what it is, since it isn't integral to the plot, but I will say that is an excellent way to get new readers interested in reading the book as well as clearing up any confusion as to what is going on. 


We truly open with Moon Knight moping around the Quinjet as he relents that he's "always been a team player," but that this time will be different, seeing as how its the Secret Avengers and there's always danger. And Moon Knight likes danger. 

Ant-Man...coming to theatres near you, too!

And of course we get Ant-Man hazing our newest member by calling him "schitzo" and telling him not to kill anyone...

To which Moon Knight replies, "Where's a can a' Raid when you need one?"
Good question. 

Oh, and by the way: this is Eric O' Grady Ant-Man. He's the third one to don the suit officially, and he's also the least memorable. Why? Well he tends to be a giant jerkface and it's on display here. 

Anyway, with that done, we move onto Moon Knight commenting mentally about the rest of the characters in the book: Beast, Black Widow, War Machine, Valkyrie, and Steve Rogers. There are two things of note here I'll get out of the way before we move on:

A lot of this book carries through with Moon Knight's thoughts. We're really in his head about all this, and it's funny to see the way he thinks about his fellow teammates. Except Ant-Man. But we already know why. His comment about Cap's chin cleft is rather sly and a clear parody of the boy-scout superhero. 

Besides his thoughts on his teammates, though, this commentary provides us insight into the struggle he has about fighting with the team and even some of the struggles he faces against the big villain of the issue (typical of Moon Knight....he's a nobody). It's always great to see these thoughts when he goes up against these villains with big powers as it provides us a perspective of what it's like to be without powers against such major villains, particularly when teamed up with big names like Cap and Black Widow. 

Plus it's better than just caption-less, still images. And his thoughts/ dialogue are unique and feel natural from the character. 

The second thing to note is much smaller, but still worth pointing out: the suit Steve wears is almost the exact same one he wears for much of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Just a bit of trivia. 

Anyway, they jump out of the Quinjet and straight to the mission! 

Just so we all know...that woman's butt is shiny. Weird

Nope, they just jump from one plane to another, this time a Helicarrier. Why they couldn't just park inside the Helicarrier is never explained. Also: what time is it? I feel like if it were night the sky would be much darker, or at least the clouds. The white clouds make it seem like daytime, but just a page ago we established that it was clearly nighttime. Though given what we learn later, apparently blue is the new black. 

There's a couple pages explaining how a villain known as Barracuda has taken over another transport, now his eighth, and has taken seventeen people hostage, killing one every time someone comes close enough to the transport. His group, Black Mast, has also commandeered the ship. To make things even more fun, he has a weapon known as the Glove of Asteria, which can shoot winds almost as fast as the speed of light to rip someone's flesh right off their skin. Though, at that speed I think disintegration would be more likely. 

They all gear up--with Ant-Man holstering a machine gun, what?--then dive out of the carrier, straight toward the ship. As we saw on the cover, Moon Knight has now changed into a dark blue/ black outfit, which he comments is meant to "[blend] like the shadows," which tells me that they are indeed at night, and that making it purely black would be a bad color. So, I'm an idiot. 

I really do like the coloring choice for it, though, Moon Knight in particular. There is definitely a blue color scheme at work here that makes everything feel right, it makes everything go well together and nothing feels out of place. Maybe it's because dark blue just appeals to me personally as a color, who knows. But I really do enjoy the coloring, which is done by Andres Mossa. 

The artwork itself is handled well, too. Every character, including the Black Mast mercenaries, all have distinct looks and you can tell them each apart from one another. No one looks the same and there was a clear effort to make that apparent. The fight scenes are also very fluid, with nothing feeling stagnant or forced. Given that most of these characters are hand-to-hand combatists, it's impressive that most characters are given unique fighting styles, with Black Widow using more of her legs and Moon Knight using more MMA types of fighting, while Cap goes in with the punches. Valkyrie, obviously, uses her sword. The only part where the artwork seems to go by the wayside is when Asteria is used to rip people to shreds. Again, it just bugs me that it rips the skin off rather than disintegrates them. It just looks weird and often out of place with the rest of the artwork. Job well done, though, on the part of Juan Jose Ryp. 

I really like naming rather unknown people, it's fun to highlight others' work. 

Back to the story: the Secret Avengers are able to just plow through all of the mercenaries, showing why they are such an adept fighting group as well as able to somehow avoid the glove of Asteria. Not sure how, since he can just wave his arm around and probably rip everyone on the boat to shreds, but whatever. Also: should it' also be ripping through metal at that speed? 

Moon Knight is dispatched to deal with the hostages, which is a bold move. The rest of the people up there, save for Black Widow, are all super-powered. Black Widow, though, has experience with most of those people and is a seasoned member of a team. Moon Knight? Not so much. Plus, he works better as a solo player and has no problem dealing with simple mercenaries. He's been doing that his whole life. 

In a pretty freaking awesome (though totally implausible but who the heck cares?!) moment, Moon Knight shoots an arrow at a dude wielding a sword, but shoots it so it splits down the middle and curves to knock out two other mercenaries, scaring the crap out of the guy with the sword. 

Moon Knight skipped Physics class

Valkyrie busts in and Moon Knight makes an adult joke. Tee. Hee. 

Barracuda, forgetting he wields a weapon that can disintegrate people, pulls some random sea shell out of nowhere (technically called the Horn of Proteus) and summons giant sea monsters. 

Well, this was a covert espionage story, but then I guess the writer (Gregg Hurtwitz) remembered it's a comic book and threw this in for good measure. This is probably my biggest issue with the book. 

While it is cool to see giant sea monsters, it just doesn't really mesh in a Moon Knight book, and especially not one in which we were supposed to get a feel for the Secret Avengers as a covert, spy-type of Avengers unit. Now it's just ridiculous. 

It doesn't even last that long, as the group manages to get away in a couple of pages completely unscathed and the seas monsters just ripping the boat apart. There's hardly any tension added to the story, and it just undermines what the story was going for previously. 

Luckily, we're reminded that this is a Moon Knight book, and he manages to get them out of there by having Valkyrie's horse pull the little piece of the ship they were all floating on away. How the sea monsters didn't just jump up and gobble them all up is a bit of a stretch, as is why Barracuda didn't just jump on when he was standing right there. But, this is about to wrap up anyway. 

The group meets back up on an aircraft carrier before walking off, Moon Knight remarking that they're a real team, ending the book. 

See, instead of giant sea monsters coming out of nowhere, I would have preferred a final battle where Moon Knight disables Barracuda, saving the team and completely earning their trust and showing why he should be a part of the Secret Avengers. I mean, he had a cool moment where he saves the hostages, but nobody was really watching. 

Overall, though, this is a really fun book. It highlights all of Moon Knight's abilities and puts his personality on display for new readers. I would say it sacrifices the other characters, but that's a pitfall for having them all show up. They all get their moment to shine in the fight scenes, but this is Moon Knight's book first and foremost. The ending got a little ridiculous but it's all saved by the cool espionage story that preceded it, as well as the great color scheme and artwork that held it all together. If you're looking for just a quick read involving Moon Knight, I'd say check this one out. 

Next time, to mark the return of the CW's Arrow for what is probably its final leg of the season, as well as because I haven't done a Green Arrow review in a while, we'll take a look at what just might be the greatest Green Arrow story ever: "Green Arrow: Year One."

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @seaonvan13 to stay up to date on when I post. Thanks for reading! 

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